ALABAMA — Have you been to all 50 states before? What about five times?
Rodney Smith Jr. is finishing his fifth “tour” of the United States helping people in need, such as the disabled or single mothers, by mowing their lawn for free. This round he focused on military veterans.
Smith, 29, spoke to CNN while completing his third tour last summer with his friend, Yuri WIlliams, who dresses up as Spiderman visiting children’s hospitals and mowing lawns.
“This is what I believe my purpose is in life,” he said.
Smith, a Bermuda native who now lives in Huntsville, Alabama, started Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a foundation that provides free lawn care to those who need help and seeks to inspire young men and women to make a difference.
Smith said the foundation runs one hundred percent by word of mouth on social media. He announces where he is going to be by taking a selfie with a state sign.
After that, requests and nominations flood in. He said people sponsor his hotel rooms and donate money to the organization to make his travel possible.
“Without social media this wouldn’t be possible,” Smith said.
This current tour started May 5. It was supposed to be a seven-continent tour, but Smith said he got a different idea to help veterans instead.
“We need to help our veterans… we need to do more. They have sacrificed their lives so the least we can do is help them when they need it.”
Smith said some of his favorite conversations have been with World War II veterans Smith said it’s amazing to hear what they went through.
Before his last leg to Alaska and Hawaii, Smith tweeted to Delta Airlines that he had two states left on his tour and they reached out to sponsor his whole trip.
“They put me in first class and everything to get me here and back home,” he said.
Smith’s passion also extends to children through a program he calls the 50-lawn challenge.
Kids accept the challenge to mow 50 lawns in their neighborhood. In return Smith’s foundation send them a T-shirt, shades and ear protection for the job. They can work their way up to receiving a mower and weed trimmer for free.
“[The work] is never done. When God gives you an idea you just do it,” Smith said.
Smith said he’ll do the seven-continent tour in the future.
When asked how lawns could be mowed in Antarctica, Smith said, “We also snow shovel!”